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Press release No. 74/2016, 2016-03-18 | zur deutschen Fassung | print version | Search

New Leibniz ScienceCampus for Science Communication

Contemporary communication of science promoted with 3 million Euro subsidy

What a week! The Senate of the Leibniz Association made its decision on Thursday 17 March, in Berlin: Three ScienceCampi will be established in the university city of Kiel. A new phenomenon: never before have three new ScienceCampi been approved in the same location at the same time. To date there were 12 such associations in Germany. One of the sponsored projects is the Kiel Science Outreach Campus (KiSOC), which will receive funding of around 3 million Euros up to 2020. The consortium of 15 partners from 6 countries (including universities and other organisations) will explore new avenues of making scientific findings understandable to the broader public, and thereby gain new students for the so-called “MINT subjects” (Mathematics, IT, Natural Sciences and Technology). The Leibniz Association and the Leibniz Institute for Science and Mathematics Education in Kiel (IPN) will each contribute one million Euros. Kiel University and the Ministry of Science in Kiel will similarly each contribute 500,000 Euros.

“Society should be able to be involved in scientific discoveries. And on the other hand, researchers benefit when their achievements are recognised and understood. Science communication is becoming increasingly important: it's a huge advantage if strong impulses can come from north Germany in future,” said Minister of Science Kristin Alheit. “The Kiel Science Outreach Campus is also ground-breaking in another sense: in particular, the broad international cooperation which is anchored in the KiSOC project will significantly boost Schleswig-Holstein as a science location.”

Professor Olaf Köller, a spokesperson for KiSOC, praised the success as being the result of the “decades-long, tried and tested cooperation between the IPN and Kiel University. It is only right, that we can now build an international network on this solid foundation.” The IPN director is convinced that the innovative forum consisting of supporters and partners will develop new means of communicating science, and thereby act as a long-term catalyst for both a population interested in science and qualified employees.

To achieve this, KiSOC will initially examine and evaluate existing activities and formats of conveying scientific information. The focus here lies particularly on the difficulties involved in conveying contents related to the natural sciences. The medium-term goal is to develop a positive understanding of the contents, structures and effects of scientific work in the population, based on a comprehensive analysis. The other spokesperson for ScienceCampus KiSOC, CAU Vice President Professor Ilka Parchmann, explained the task at hand: “The only way in which we can sustainably encourage more people to become active in this field is if we succeed in creating an understanding of the services and value of research amongst the broad population.”

Background information on the Leibniz ScienceCampus KiSOC
Leibniz ScienceCampi aim to promote cooperation in university and non-university research. They enable thematically-focused teamwork between Leibniz institutions and universities in the form of equal, complementary, regional partnerships. The networks conduct strategic research, encourage interdisciplinarity in their topics, projects and methods, enhance the visibility of the respective location and strengthen its research profile. KiSOC is searching for new answers to the ongoing scientific and technological progress. This constantly imposes new demands on the ability to learn and the cosmopolitan attitude of the citizens of civil society. Only if they are able to permanently adjust to the changing circumstances, will they have a chance on the job market, and to take part in social processes. This requires new forms of learning, particularly in the MINT subjects (Mathematics, IT, Natural Sciences and Technology), as well as conveying current knowledge and the latest research results in both educational institutions (up to date teaching and study materials) and to the public (exhibition projects). Interesting and modern forms of representation will be developed in order to achieve this. In addition, the cooperation between researchers and teaching staff should be improved.

15 national and international partner institutions from six countries are involved in KiSOC: the Research Center Borstel (FZB), the Leibniz Institut für Wissensmedien (Knowledge Media Research Center (KMRC) in Tübingen), the Deutsches Museum (Munich), the Leibniz-Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK, Gatersleben), the Nationales Institut für Wissenschaftskommunikation (KIT - Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Karlsruhe), Spektrum der Wissenschaften, Kiel University of Applied Sciences (Mediendom), the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings , the Mathematikum (hands- on mathematical museum, Gießen), the Weizmann Institute of Science (Israel), University College London (Institute of Education, UK), Helsinki University, LUMA Centres (Finland), Visualiseringscenter C (Norrköping, Sweden ), Curry School of Education (University of Virginia, USA).

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Curious school children at the multimedia column by the research focus Nano Science and Surface Research in Sophienhof in Kiel.
Photo: Jürgen Haacks, Copyright: Kiel University

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In the student lab at the IPN and Kiel University Forschungswerkstatt.
Photo/Copyright: Jürgen Haacks / Kiel University

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Professor Olaf Köller
Tel.: +49 (0)431 880-3120

Professor Ilka Parchmann
Tel.: +49 (0)431 880-5352

Leibniz-Institut für die Pädagogik für die Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik
Press and Public Relations, Dr Ute Ringelband
Postal address: Olshausenstraße 62, D-24118 Kiel, Telephone: +49 (0)431 880-3122
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Kiel University
Press, Communication and Marketing, Dr. Boris Pawlowski
Address: D-24098 Kiel, phone: +49 (0431) 880-2104, fax: +49 (0431) 880-1355
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